Louisiana Fried Chicken & Wings

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So I believe Louisiana Fried Chicken has opened a location here in AZ on a couple of occasions. I remember reviewing one awhile back in Phoenix during my Urbanspoon days and then it abruptly closed without any notice when I tried to return. So the Chandler area is now their newest experiment. Louisiana Fried Chicken & Wings actually came out of LA in the 70’s and has over a hundred locations in the US. The Louisiana name comes from how the chicken is cooked –  Cajun battered and deep fried. They also have fried shrimp, chicken tenders and fish. There are several entree combinations to choose from with or without sides and whatever quantity you want. Side items include mashed potatoes, okra, red beans & rice and coleslaw. There’s a bit of an Asian influence with rice combinations and egg rolls. And they have gumbo too! The family pack combos must be popular because there were several people waiting in the lobby for large to-go orders. The restaurant itself isn’t very large but pretty clean. I thought the chicken was pretty tasty with just a hint of spice and a nice soft crunch to it. They have bottles of hot sauce available that you can spice your chicken up with. Overall Louisiana Chicken is a nice fast casual chain if you are looking for a quick affordable bite of some Cajun chicken (a 3 piece combo will run you about $8). It will be interesting to see how they do in Chandler across from Food City. Btw… they have a couple different slices of pie for dessert and boba tea.

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3 Piece Combo

Louisiana Fried Chicken & Wings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

French Grocery

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A couple from New Orleans started this part market, part restaurant in 2013. French Grocery specializes in French, Cajun and Creole foods. The outside of the grocery may not look like much, but the decor and the service makes you feel welcome upon entering. You basically order your food or drink at the service counter and find a table to sit at and eat. They have a couple of huge deli cases full of pastas, meats, cheeses and desserts. They also have an enormous collection of French wines that are displayed beautifully throughout the store. I’ve been here a couple times now, but haven’t had the opportunity to grab anything off their lunch or diner menu. But the BBQ shrimp po-boy and muffuletta sandwiches look amazing. The cochon de lait sandwich is also on my must-try list. I came in for some beignets and coffee the last time I was here and took home some yummy macarons for dessert. They have quite a variety of them to choose from. My personal favorite is the salted caramel one. Today I stopped in and took home some of their homemade cinnamon almond butter. This place has been a nice addition to the Phoenix area and gives me some good throwback memories of my visit to New Orleans.

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French Grocery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Seafood Okra Gumbo

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My favorite food stop when I visited the French Quarter last summer was the Gumbo Shop. The food there was amazing. I did my best to try and recreate their famous gumbo from a recipe on their website. Here are photos and the recipe below. Note – I used Andouille sausage sliced into 1/2″ rounds instead of crab.

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh or frozen shrimp, head on about 40-50 count per poundound
2 small blue crabs, fresh or frozen
3 quarts water 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 quart fresh or frozen okra, sliced into 1/2″ rounds
2/3 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
1 16oz. can chopped tomatoes
2 bayleaves
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

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Directions:

Peel and de-vein the shrimp, and set aside, covered in the refrigerator. Rinse the shrimp shells and heads, place in a non-reactive stock pot along with 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes to make a stock. Strain, discard the shells and heads and set the stock aside. Meanwhile, wash the crabs well under running water, place in a non-reactive pot with 1 quart of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Strain, reserving stock and crabs. When the crabs are cool enough to handle, snap both claws off then break the body in half. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil , add the okra and saute over medium high heat for about 10 – 15 minutes or until all the “ropiness” is gone. This step may take a little longer if fresh okra is used. Frozen vegetables are usually plunged into boiling water and blanched before freezing, so they are partially cooked.

Place the 2/3 cup oil in a large (8 quart) heavy bottomed non-reactive Dutch oven type pot. Add the flour and, over a medium high fire, make a dark brown roux as described on page10. As soon as the proper color is achieved, add the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally until tender. During this process, allow the vegetables to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit, then scrape the bottom with a metal spoon or spatula. This allows some of the natural sugars in the onions to caramelize, rendering great depth of flavor.

When the seasoning vegetables are tender add the tomatoes, bay leaves and the three peppers and a little salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, repeating the stick and scrape process with the tomatoes. Add the sauteed okra and cook for 10 more minutes.

Add the crab stock and half of the shrimp stock to the pot. Stirring constantly, bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat a bit, partially cover and simmer for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally. If the gumbo appears too thick, add more stock to adjust. Add salt to taste and adjust the pepper if desired. Add the broken crabs and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the peeled shrimp, return to a boil and simmer until the shrimp are firm and pink, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat.

As is the case with most gumbos, this dish is best prepared either early in the day it is to be served, or even the day before, thereby allowing time for the flavors to marry. When reheating, stir often and be careful to avoid overcooking the shrimp.

Serve in large bowls over steamed rice. This recipe will yield about six entrees or ten to twelve appetizers.

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Seafood Okra Gumbo

Louisiana Fried Chicken

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Greatness is not “WHAT WE HAVE”
Greatness is “WHAT WE MAKE”

Another Soul Food Chain hits the Valley. Louisiana Fried Chicken is a franchise/chain birth out of L.A. with a New Orleans southern influence to their food. I picked up a Groupon to this place and decided to check it out. Soul food is pretty popular these days with restaurants everywhere adding chicken and waffles to their menu. It will be interesting to see how LFC does coming off the heels of Lo-Lo’s which made soul food a hit here in the valley. The fried okra was great and I loved the sweet potato pie. Overall it was a decent experience. (Note – they have a tendency to close at odd times whenever they run out of chicken or have A/C issues. I tried to return for a second visit and it looks like they have closed permanently. Oh well.)

  • – from their website

Joe Dion was the founder of Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken. Dion came to Los Angeles from Michigan in 1957 with nothing in pockets and inclination to work in restaurants. After a month in his garage with a 30 pound fryer, experimenting with a recipe he says he obtained from New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme, he arrived at a product chicken in a Zesty Cajun batter fried to a soft crunch and finished with a slight, spicy heat.

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3 Piece Pac (with Fried Okra and Mashed Potatoes with Gravy)

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Sweet Potato Pie

Louisiana Fried Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CHEF Movie

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It’s been awhile since I’ve been this excited about a movie. But after seeing the trailer to Jon Favreau’s new movie CHEF, I was hooked on seeing it. One reason – food porn. I seriously was salivating as I saw the previews. Plus I was a cook for ten years in the restaurant business and I understand life in the kitchen. Cooking for me has always been both therapeutic and a passion. This is the story of Carl Casper, a cook in L.A. who is trying to rediscover his passion for cooking. He ends up going on road trip in a food truck with his son to get his passion to make amazing food back. The film ended up being a great movie and easily one of my favorite ones of the year. In addition to having a great cast, CHEF also has a great soundtrack. I ended up going with my favorite foodie friends that I love to eat out with. My friend Kim is a personal chef and my other friend Pete is (in my opinion) the top restaurant reviewer in Arizona. He and his wife Monica eat out at different restaurants all over the valley. We had a blast and I look forward to seeing it again!

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